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January 24 Notes.docx

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Angela Brkich

RELIGIOUS STUDIES Lecture Notes January 24 Regardless how many murtis or temples or locations murtis are located, each one represents the god as a whole. PUJA: DOMESTIC WORSHIP one of the most important way practitioners show their devotion to the gods or teachers they worship. Puja are simplified versions of rituals done in the temple, done in the home. Sometimes even led by women. includes: ● worshipping before altar ● offering foods ● burning incense ● prayers ● lighting lamps FOOD perhaps the most important preoccupation in the religion itself. Hindus care about everything having to do with food and eating: ● who ● what ● why ● where ● when ● what order ● who gets left overs ● how cooked ● how eaten *NOT ALL HINDUS ARE VEGETARIANS strictest vegetarians are VAISHNAVAS BRAHMINS are also usually vegetarians COWS and PHEASANTS are never eaten. they may drink the milk of a cow. DIETARY PROHIBITIONS AND REGULATIONS REFLECTS A BELIEF THAT FOOD REFLECTS NATURE. some foods are AUSPICIOUS, lucky, good omens some foods are INAUSPICIOUS some foods are pure and encourage spiritual growth some foods give you sloth The AUSPICIOUS / INAUSPICIOUS is not karma. it extends beyond food as well. FOODS THAT ENCOURAGE SLOTH: mainly STALE FOODS and ALCOHOL foods don't just reflect the nature of the food itself, but also the people who prepare it. if the person is inauspicious, it will be transferred through the food. PRASADA: the devoted food, divinely blessed. THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL CYCLE: most popular is actually deity birthdays one in every month. PANHINDU FESTIVALS: NAVARATRI is a type of women's festival. celebrated in MANY differnt ways all over India. It is in the month before Deepvali DEEPVALI celebrates a new year(for some). Celebrated near 15th of OCT and 14th of NOV. lights, firecrackers. these follow a lunar calendar the meaning of these differ all over India. different communities celebrate these festivals in different way. LIFE-CYCLE RITUALS What purposes do rites of passage serve? Hinduism says that life should be lived in an orderly manner, passing through stages at certain times to complete your dharma. Rites of passage is VITALLY IMPORTANT, indicates a sense of belonging to the group, saying you are a member of this tradition. INHERENTLY CONNECTED TO DHARMA important to remember: 1. life-cycle rituals are NOT pan-hindu. even those that are nearly ubiquitous do not have the same importance in all communities. 2. important to know that the vedas and different texts omit many of the women's rites of passages. they happened, they just weren't recorded since these texts were written by men. if life-cycle rituals are so diverse, why consider them in unison? despite the fact that these rites are different all over india and not ubiquitous, we will look at some because WE HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE. LIFE CYCLE RITES BEGIN PRE-CONCEPTION! BIRTH RITUALS: begin before conception and extend to the birth Impregnations ritual. Pregnency rituals. the exact moment the child is born is recorded for cosmology and horoscope reasons. prayers are said and blessigns are given and the child is named. a large variety of childhood rituals like the departure of the birthing room, eating of solid foods, ear piercing, hair cutting. but the birth rituals, of all childhood rituals, are most important. INITIATION RITUALS: traditionally for males in three highest. initiates boy into study. called UPANAYANA. also known as THE INVESTITURE WITH THE SACRED THREAD. some scholars think this is the most important of all life-cycle rituals. only really used in the brahmin community today. efforts to get girls in there today. it's believed that this ritual provides boys with a second birth, one into sacred knowledge and the realization of important knowledge: like true self, body self, atman, brahman. it can be very very expensive. separation from maternal connection. when prepared for the ritual, their clothing is removed, their heads shaved but for a little tail in the back. try to make them look like babies. given all sorts of objects symbolic of ascetic practices. one is a SACRED THREAD draped over the shoulder. other items may vary, but thread is consistent. WEDDINGS necessary to repay debts (to gods (paid by marriage), and ancestors (paid by child)). man needs to get married to liberate soul. the householder stage plays a huge importance cause most of your life is in this stage. so the highest calling for a woman is the dharma of the faithful wife. there are no upanayanas for girls^, so marriage is the moment when women enter their spiritual life. it also marks both partners as beginning their householder stage. polygamist marriages were not uncommon at one time. in 1976, the offical law of india was that it PROMOTED monogomy, so there's some room for that still but it isn't common. Scriptures call wives companions and partners (not servants or possessions). arranged marriages are less common today than assumed. Horoscopes are checked. Marriages were between not just two people but two families. in the past, just parents did the search for partners, but now there are non- profits and marriage bureaus and services to help hook people up. THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS SANCTION FOR A DOWRY. it is actually illegal now but
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